A new take on the overland truck camper is coming. The AT Overland Aterra flatbed truck camper is a no-nonsense, full-featured, go-anywhere overland home.
For years now, I’ve had campfire discussions about this new camper design with AT Overland’s owner/designer Mario Donovan. Ever since I designed and helped build my own custom truck camper, the EEXP, which I lived out of for many years, I’ve dreamed about camper design.
I’m acutely aware of the many design and construction deficiencies common among today’s truck campers. And so is Donovan, who has dealt with these deficiencies for over 20 years now. The Aterra marks his latest camper solution.
While rugged off-road trailers launched AT Overland into the limelight, the brand now stakes its name on a full line of pop-top truck topper campers. And though the Aterra camper isn’t a pop-top, it’s likely to achieve similar market success.
AT Overland Aterra XL
Donovan is always on the hunt for a better way to do things. So it’s no surprise he stands as one of the overland industry founders here in North America.
His latest concept, the AT Overland Aterra XL, is a hard-sided flatbed truck camper he designed for weekend warriors and multi-continent overlanders alike. The name comes from a combination of the company name “AT Overland” and the Latin word for earth, “terra.”
The Aterra XL looks perfect for two adults and a pet on long-term overlanding excursions. And it can work for up to three adults for shorter adventures. Donovan designed it to fit on any full-size pickup that can be outfitted with an 80 x 80-inch flatbed (most half- to one-ton trucks on the market today).
Why choose this over other campers? Because of its durability, light weight, and impressive use of space, which offers tons of storage and all the comforts of home.
Durable & Lightweight
Tern Overland took more than 2 years to engineer the unique shell construction that AT Overland will debut on the Aterra XL camper. The brand claims it’s the “world’s first fiber-reinforced thermoplastic honeycomb composite shell.”
That means the panels that constitute the shell of the camper are made of a fiberglass-reinforced plastic honeycomb with fiberglass skin on each side. The panels are then bonded together and the entire camper, inside and out (minus the inside of the roof) is PU-coated (in Stone Gray color).
The interior roof also gets additional insulation and a carpeted headliner, both for noise deadening and optimal indoor climate control.
This super-strong, lightweight shell construction creates a camper that can handle the abuses of long-term adventures across extremely rough terrain. So it is a true four-season camper and only weighs 1,100 pounds fully outfitted.
Inside, you have just over 6 feet 3 inches of headroom. The interior cabinetry attaches without any fasteners, which keeps any holes out of the shell. To attach the cabinetry and systems, aluminum extrusions are bonded to the interior of the shell. For the countertops and table, the Aterra XL sports Plyboo, an excellent material for strength, weight, and durability. It’s also sustainable and looks fresh and modern.
While this camper isn’t small, it isn’t all that big either. The key here is a balancing act between fitting off-road trails and offering comfortable living space. AT Overland worked to optimize every square inch of this camper’s interior for functionality, comfort, and storage.
It’s impressive how many systems are in the camper while still providing lots of storage and room to move around. The camper even comes with 12 perfectly fit storage cubes from STEP 22 Gear to add easy storage and organization.
The main queen-size bed has a 3-inch-thick upholstered foam mattress on a Froli Travel spring system. I’ve slept on a Froli system a few times and can attest they are very comfortable. The secondary bed, meanwhile, converts with the rear-dinette. The dinette table sits on a pivot arm that allows it to move out of the way for access to either seat. This is vitally important, as the built-in toilet rests under the passenger-side seat.
This area also serves as an indoor shower. A shower pan sits on the floor between the dinette seats, with a curtain that Velcros to the carpeted headliner to keep water contained. Sagiv shower hookup points are found both inside the dinette and out, for indoor or outdoor showering experiences.
To make this camper feel roomy, five Arctic Tern double-pane acrylic windows and two electric roof hatch skylights — all with built-in reflective privacy curtains and bug screens — bring in sunlight and fresh air. An Arctic Tern double-bolt entrance door with window and security/bug screen also comes standard. But a Maxxair Ventilation Fan provides the real vital fresh air component.
With the shell and furniture in place, AT Overland installs a ton of quality systems to provide all the comforts of home. You get a Wrappon Trekker waterless toilet system — one of the most impressive no-smell, easy-to-use camper toilets I’ve tried. You also get a top-tier 90L National Luna dual-zone fridge/freezer. So not only can you keep your beer cold, but you’ll also have ice for your cocktails.
Don’t worry, AT Overland didn’t forget to include the kitchen sink. The Aterra XL has a Dometic flush-mount two-burner sink-and-stove combo with a glass top. Feeding that sink, and the aforementioned shower system, is a 30-gallon freshwater tank and Truma propane AquaGo on-demand water heater.
A standard 20-pound propane tank fuels this system and the Truma Vario Comfort air heater. Customers can access the propane tank and all mechanicals through a single exterior door on the camper.
Meanwhile, the electrical system consists of a 105Ah lithium battery, a National Luna 40A DC-to-DC charging system with an integrated solar controller, and automatic vehicle charging disconnect. With this system and 400 W of solar on the roof, it’s unlikely you’ll need more power, especially since the interior uses all dimmable LED lighting and has lots of USB and 12V outlets to charge personal electronics.
AT doesn’t offer alterations/substitutions to this camper system at this time. This allows the brand to optimize build efficiencies and offer what it believes to be the best possible combination of systems and packaging. In the long run, this will also make it much easier to diagnose and service any issues with these campers, as they will all be the same.
With that said, a few optional upgrades will become available on the Aterra XL. These include up to 315 Ah of lithium batteries, up to 800 W of solar, an awning, mechanical camper jacks, a fresh air replenishment system, and a rear accessory rack for fuel/water cans and Maxtrax.
Matching the camper paint to the vehicle is also an option.
A flatbed is required for the Aterra camper. The AT Aterra XL will fit on just about any flatbed with an 80 x 80-inch minimum size. AT Overland sells and suggests flatbeds made by FiftyTen, Lite Aluma Tray, UTE, and Norweld, with even more options on offer soon.
The brand said it can also customize the flatbed to meet your needs (depending on the flatbed) with storage lockers, spare tire holders, accessory mounts, and more.
AT Aterra XL Camper Pricing & Availablity
The standard AT Overland Aterra XL will cost about $55,000 when it goes on sale in May. At that time, the first production-quality final prototypes will roll out of the AT Overland factory in Prescott, Ariz. Hopping in line for one of these campers requires a 50% deposit, with the balance due upon completion.
The brand said it expects lead times at launch will be 25-30 weeks.
Though there will only be one size at launch, the “XL” in the name implies there might be future campers of various sizes.
I have no doubt that not only will AT Overland build many of these campers but that it will also live up to the quality standards and reputation it has established over the past 20-plus years. Sure, $55,000 plus a flatbed isn’t inexpensive, but it’s very competitive when you look at what else is on the market.
There are some downsides to the Aterra XL camper. It has no roof rack availability (where am I going to carry my kayaks!?), a snug interior standing height for tall people, and a long lead time (although that is an industry-wide issue at the moment).
Some might also see the lack of both customization or a shell version as negatives. But for those who think this camper spec meets their needs, the single option makes everything easy.
Is the AT Overland Aterra XL flatbed truck camper your dream adventure home away from home? Stay up to date on all things Aterra camper or get your place in line for one at ATOverland.com. You can also check out Scout Campers and 4-Wheel Campers for more ideas!